Donald Trump is a certified liar but his base continues to believe his big and little lies are the truth. A big part of the reason for that is FOX news is more than happy to amplify the lies he tells every day with sleazy personalities like Sean Hannity happy to repeat them as truths.
Beyond that we need to be asking the same thing a recent Slate column did: “Why Are the Times, the Post, and MSNBC on a Conservative Hiring Spree?” They report MSNBC hired Trump apologist Hugh Hewitt in addition to other conservatives like George Will and Greta Van Susteren. We know NBC hired Megyn Kelly and is sticking with her despite her ratings flop. It seems these news outlets are now afraid to be known as liberal. That is part of what Trump has accomplished with his big and little lies.
All the polling we have seen shows Trump has a base of support between 32 and 40 percent depending on news of the day or the tweet of the day. Trump better than any politician before him understands the use of social media and how his tweets get even legitimate mainstream media to repeat his lies even if they go on to debunk them.
The Republican mainstream, which is ceasing to exist, understands that Trump’s supporters are some of the most uneducated people in the nation with some of the most racist, sexist and homophobic opinions. They are afraid to go against those people because they need them to win. They are the people who either don’t have the intelligence or ability to research the truth, or simply want to believe what Trump says because it coincides perfectly with their own biases and beliefs.
We have seen all this play out in the response to the Nunes memo. Trump tweeted, “This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!”
The tweet got a headline in the New York Times printed edition, ‘Trump Says Republican Memo Proves his Innocence on Russia’ in a column by Emily Cochrane. It was changed in the online edition to be even more accurate: ‘Trump Says Republican Memo ‘Totally Vindicates’ Him.’ So the big lie became the headline even though in the column Cochrane reports, “The memo, while trying to paint the origins of the Russia investigation as tainted, did nothing to clear Mr. Trump of either collusion or obstruction.”
So I am sure Trump again sees this as a big win when someone reads back to him his big lie in the headline of the nation’s leading newspaper; even one that consistently reports the failures of Trump and his lies. The Washington Post fact-checked Trump’s State of the Union speech and found nearly every economic ‘fact’ he claimed was either an outright lie or an exaggeration that could be easily proven false. But for Trump that is not a problem as the speech was directed at his base of support, that 32 to 40 percent of the population who want to believe everything he says.
There may be some debate as to whether Trump is an inveterate or a congenital liar. I leave that to others to decide. One definition of the differences is “An inveterate liar has more of a problem. He can’t stop lying. It’s an addiction to him. Like an inveterate gambler. It doesn’t mean he is essentially good at lying. A congenital liar on the other hand, is so good at lying, it seems that he is born for the job. A congenital thing is something you are born with. Either way, Trump is a master at it and a large part of the American people are clearly believing his lies. The country and the majority of decent people will continue to suffer until we rid ourselves of Trump.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.